Release Date: 07.21.98 Web homepage
Record label: ignition
Genre(s): Movies, Film Scores, Musicals, Etc.
Bringing a Little Bit of Fun Wherever They Go
by: bill aicher
"We're not just the run-of-the-mill band playing ska-punk because that's what's big." Spring Heeled Jack USA is a pretty damn good band. I am not the biggest fan of ska, because I find that a lot of it all sounds the same. Luckily for me, when I got ahold of this CD I had an open mind. If I had been stubborn and just fluffed them off as "another ska band" I would have missed out on a good CD.
Songs from Suburbia is an impressive album. It is is their first album with Ignition Records and their first major label release. Their first full-length release was "Static World View" and was released in 1996 on Moon Ska Records.
Spring Heeled Jack is not a strictly ska band. As Ron (guitar, vocals) has been quoted as saying, "You want to add different aspects of what else you like. Everyone in the band isn't a total ska freak who listens to ska and nothing else. Everyone's into different things for different moods." This mixture of backgrounds lends toward a more fulfilling musical experience. They are one of those bands where you can tell they are having fun with the music. (Track 2, "Jolene", is a song about the tour van they started out with; a "piece of crap van" which stalled every hour or so). Although they are labeled as a ska band, and the ska influence is pronounced, there are other influences in there as well. "Songs from Suburbia" has rock and pop influences as well. In fact, track 3 is titled "Pop Song (Green)" and is one of my favorites on this album.
So what kind of stuff do these guys sing about, you ask? As Ron says, "Stupid stuff with girls, stupid stuff with bands, stupid stuff with drinking - just a bunch of stupid stuff that comes together to tell a little story about suburbia." Even though Ron describes it as being "stupid stuff" it comes across in a little more impressive way. Their audience is from suburbia, so they are addressing the audience. Mike Pelligrino has an excellent voice to offer for lead vocals. It is not too hoarse or nasal, as is found in some less impressive ska bands I have listened to.
When you are sitting around, thinking "Man, I am sick of my music collection. I have heard it all way too many times, so I need to get another CD. Hmm, what should I get?" You should answer that question with a quick "Oh I know, Spring Heeled Jack's Songs from Suburbia. I hear they are pretty good. Yeah, I am not a ska fan, but I hear they are pretty good." Yes, that is the answer I will be looking for. This is an excellent CD to help round the music collection. Likewise, if you are already a big ska fan, you know you need this CD. They are a great band who has opened for various acts including The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Cherry Poppin' Daddies. Besides, they're just a band who is "basically out to have a good time and not push any messages."